In September, Rick Perry's campaign paid just $21,000 to use a private Cessna plane from a friendly businessman when the going rate to charter such flight time could be triple the price, The New York Times reported. On Tuesday the paper took a closer look into the flights that the Texas governor's campaign booked with Life Partners Holdings president Brian D. Pardo, a donor who is currently "under investigation by federal securities regulators." It found that Perry's flight seemed to be steeply discounted from other charter services:
But had the campaign rented the same plane from a charter company, it could have cost up to three times as much, other interviews suggest. Because of changes in federal campaign regulations, that raises the question of whether Mr. Perry, the Texas governor, effectively received an unreported campaign contribution by underpaying Mr. Pardo.
In September, The Wall Street Journal first noted that the Texas governor was using Pardo's plane and a Perry spokesperson said that it was "paid in full in accordance with federal election laws." (The New York Times is now saying that after their questioning "the campaign would re-examine the issue by seeking 'the formal opinion of outside counsel'"). And Politico's Ken Vogel noted a seemingly similar trend in a report last month: "Some of the same Texas donors who have funded Perry's political rise also have footed the bills for Perry and his family to jet around the world."